Itto-den Shinki Toho

Itto-den Toho Shinki is a type of Koryu (traditional) Kenjutsu, which is in the tradition of Ittoryu-style, from Ittosai Kagehisa Ito and his main disciple Jiróemon Tadaaki Ono – was founded 16th-17th centuries.”Itto-den” means “standing on the tradition of the Ittoryu. Toho means “the way to wield the sword. ” Shinki means “divine Ki” is the name of the style of Budo-Toho Shinki-director Michael Daishiro Nakajima, Shinkiryu Soke Aiki Budo (Aikido 6th Dan Aikikai Aiki Jujutsu Daitoryu 8th Dan Shihan Bokuyokan). Ittoryu has many branches such as Itoha, Onoha with many sub-branches, Mizoguchiha, Kougen-Ittoryu, Tenshin-Ittoryu, Hokushin-Ittoryu, Itto-shod Mutoryu, etc. Toho Shinki attempts to extract the technical strengths of these schools and the “swordless spirit” mentally of Tenshin Ittoryu or Mutoryu.

Kamae Form:

  1. Rei
  2. Batto – Draw and step forward to-
  3. Seigan
  4. Ura-Seigan -while steeping forward
  5. In
  6. Yo -while stepping back
  7. Hidari Jodan -left hand forward (on sword) and left foot forward, right hand at side pushing down
  8. Migi-Jodan -both hands on sword, right foot forward
  9. Gedan -slice into this position while shuffle step back wards
  10. Waki (gamae)
  11. Onken
  12. Seigan -while stepping backwards
  13. Ura-Waki -draw sword back to left shoulder, up at 45 degree angle, “T” stance.
  14. Chudan Kasumi -left foot forward “T” stance
  15. Jodan Kasumi -narrower stance
  16. Tsuki
  17. Hongaku
  18. Chudan Ura-gasumi -slice into position, stepping back to “T” stance
  19. Jodan Ura-gasumi -narrow stance
  20. Tsuki -left foot forward
  21. Suriage – dip sword and exchange feet into –
  22. Shomen-uchi
  23. Hiraki-Dachi -left foot forward, sword in right hand, 45 degrees down and out, left hand at side
  24. Kesa-gake -two handed diagonal cut to left
  25. Nôtô -sheath sword and step back to neutral stance-
  26. Rei

Kumidachi-Hajime: beginning, Kumidachi-Osame: closing
Bokuto: One source for quality Bokuto (wooden swords) is They have an Ittoryu Bokuto for $39 that is very close to the one I purchased from Sasamori Sensei in Japan. They also carry a limited supply of Top Quality Leather Tsuba (Thick Double) at $35 that fits specifically on the Ittoryu Bokuto. If you have any problems with your order let them know you are studying Aikido with Scott Vogel and they will know what you need, or refer them to Song Choi (the product manager), or Mayuko Kato (the Web Master)..

Preparing you Bokuto: When you receive your (naked wood) Bokuto you may want to very lightly but evenly sand (very fine grit) it to open up and even up the wood. After sanding thoroughly clean up all the dust before treating the wood. To seal and protect the wood with a flexible yet tough coating just vigorously rub-in boiled linseed oil and immediately wipe-off the excess. Let it dry 2 to 8 hours (a little longer with each coat or if it is very humid out). Lightly rub-off irregularities in each coat (after drying) with 0000 steel wool. Then wipe off the steel wool remnants prior to applying the next coat. I would recommend 5 to 8 coats.

Fitting the Tsuba: If your tsuba is so tight that it won’t slide snuggly all the way from the blade to the handle position of your Bokuto then consider the following: The leather tsubas are roughly cut to fit your Bokuto. Sometimes they are left a little “too small” so you may have to trim them to a precise fit on your Bokuto. It is important to do this carefully so that the tsuba does not slip past the “blade” and on to the handle portion of your bokuto. I found that a Dremmel tool fitted with the 1/2″ sanding cylinder and the 1/8″ lateral drilling bit work best. Take you time and take off less rather than more as you work. Or, if you like, I have successfully custom fitted 5 tsubas with a Dremmel tool and would be willing to trim yours if you would prefer.

Tsuba Retainer: There are commercial rubber retaining pieces available through E-bogu and other manufacturers. We have found these last for only a few months at most, with any intense training. For more durable (and cheaper) options for a retaining piece, you can use a piece of (damp) rawhide, cut to 3/4 inch and long enough to be wrapped 1 3/4 to 2 times around. With a light layer of glue spread on one side of the rawhide strip, wrap the strip glue side down around the area immediately in front of the mounted Tsuba. You can hold the wound rawhide tsuba retainer down with rubber bands while it is drying. Be sure to wipe off the excess glue immediately upon gluing and then again a few minutes later as the glue expands and settles. I found that a thin even layer of Gorilla glue over the entire under surface of the rawhide worked well. You can also just lay down multiple even, throws with strapping tape until it is built up to about 3/16 inch thickness.

Jo: You can also purchase an Aikido White Oak Jo for $32 at E-bogu as well. An alternative is to purchase a 1 inch diameter utility handle from Home Depot for about $5. Cut the screw portion off so that the Jo is at armpit (or chin) height on your body while standing on the ground. Round the end with a knife then sand smooth starting with coarse sandpaper to shape the end round like the other end. Sand the entire handle with fine and paper to remove the polyurethane coating. If you want to apply a stain do so at this point following the instructions on the can. Then follow the “preparing your bokuto” section for details on finishing your Jo with a protective but flexible coating of boiled linseed oil.